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by: Kris Gardner, United States Basketball Writers Association member. Credentialed media member since 1997. USBWA approved online journalist. Voter of Katrina McClain, Naismith, USBWA, and Wooden awards.

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Patrick Bevlery's return helps Rockets edge Suns, 100-95

The final score was nowhere close to the dismantling the Rockets did of the Grizzlies Wednesday night.

Posted: December 6, 2014 -- 11:00 pm.

HOUSTON, TX (Toyota Center) -- Saturday night, the Houston Rockets continued dealing with injuries; but, more importantly, the Rockets also continued winning. Despite James Harden's back tightening up on him and losing Francisco Garcia playing just 8 minutes before an injury, the Rockets defeated the Phoenix Suns 100-95.

After missing the previous six games due to a hamstring injury, Patrick Beverley scored 19 points and picked up two huge offensive rebounds down the stretch to help the Rockets earn their 16th win in 20 games to start the 2014-'15 season.

"We don't win that game unless Pat plays," Kevin McHale said after the game. "He made some big threes and got some huge offensive rebounds. We were really struggling. We were running out of gas. James (Harden) tweaked his back. Francisco (Garcia) is out. We were really running on fumes there but we found a way to win the game. That's what this team has been able to do which is impressive."

Beverley scored 10 points in the fourth quarter as the Rockets' offense slowed to a crawl. The Rockets made just three field goals in the fourth period. Beverley made two of the three baskets. With 2:30 left in the fourth quarter, and the Rockets on fumes, Beverley nailed a three-point bucket to give the Rockets a 95-85 lead.

"They (Suns) were helping from the sides. He (James Harden) kicked it out and made a great pass; and, I just made the shot. I'm excited. I'm happy to be back. I'm happy to be out there with my guys. I'm happy to be out there and compete with my brothers. I'm happy we got the win."

After the big three-point basket, Beverley hustled and grabbed two offensive rebounds which took time off the clock as well as resulted in two free throws by teammate Donatas Motiejunas.

The Suns crept within four points (97-93); but, Beverley sank three free throws and pulled down another rebound to help seal the victory.

"I had a real tight back," James Harden said after the game. "It was hard for me to even move. It happened in the second half. In the third quarter is when I felt it and that's when I couldn't move and I told coach I needed to go to the back and stretch it. It was hard for me to change directions and it was hard for me to really move and push off. It was a tough night."

Harden finished the game with 15 points (5 for 21 field goals), a career-high tying 12 rebounds, and seven assists. His back problems limited him to zero points and just 1 assist (no rebounds and three turnovers) in seven fourth quarter minutes.

The Rockets led the Suns 60-41 at halftime; but, poor shooting (11 for 34 field goals) and 13 turnovers in the second half allowed the Suns, despite 18 for 49 field goal shooting in the half, to hang around and make the game close down the stretch.

"We didn't come out with energy," said Suns head coach Jeff Hornacek. "I don’t know why. They played a back to back too. We’re just as young as they are. It shouldn't have been an excuse for that. Again, that’s something we have to figure out with our guys. Figure it out. I told them in the locker room, that’s like the fourth or fifth time this year that you have to come ready to play. That’s on them to be mentally prepared for the game. You can’t get down twenty points and expect to come back and think you’re going to win games."

The Rockets won the rebounding battle 57-40. Beverley and Trevor Ariza each scored a team-high 19 points for the Rockets while Donatas Motiejunas scored 16 points (7 for 12 field goals) and pulled down 11 rebounds. Jason Terry added 13 points in nearly 39 minutes of action.

"I'm happy that we won," Motiejunas said. "We spent a lot of energy today. We have tomorrow off so we are going to try to get rest and come back Monday and keep on working."

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